I recently went to watch one of my favourite childhood movies, The Prince of Egypt, in the theatre. I was very excited about this, because it was not only a story I loved from my childhood but a story that I also connect with as a Christian, the story of Moses. So as a treat to myself on my birthday last month, I went to see the theatre production.
Whilst watching the show, I was unhappy at the changes that the director made to the story. Not only were there differences from the childhood animation, but differences from the bible story itself. I, being a person who hates change being sprung upon me, hated the changes immediately, until later on when I was able to appreciate the changes. The two biggest changes were:
- More emphasis given to Moses’ relationship with his brother
- Less focus being assigned to Moses’ relationship with God
Moses’ relationship with his brother was not something I truly considered before. I saw them as opposing forces when it came to freeing the Israelites from Egypt. However, the play emphasises their love for one another as brothers, that even as the Israelites crossed the red sea, the two brothers still regarded each other with love and mutual respect.
The second change, the most important one, was Moses’ relationship with God. In the theatre production, Moses battled his purpose in freeing the Israelites and the actions and steps he needed to take.
In the Bible story, Moses is portrayed as an obedient man, who although was hesitant to go to Egypt, obeyed God’s word and carried out his will without a word of complaint. However, in the theatre production, Moses becomes weary of the countless plagues that he set forth on the Egyptian people. When the final plague, death to all Egyptian firstborn, was instructed to Moses, he was heartbroken at the potential pain and suffering that he was to bring to countless innocent children and their families, especially after the Israelites had experienced a similar fate during Moses’ birth.
It is poignant that one of the few children who survived the Egyptian massacre of innocent children, was rescued by a member of the same royal family and was able to exact the same fate to the Egyptians, including Rameses’s own son. I cant imagine the pain Moses must have felt knowing the part he played in the death of his brother’s only son even if it did save countless people from slavery and continued suffering from the brutal hands of the Egyptians.
Although resistant at first, I am appreciative of the new perspectives and the human elements that were brought to The Prince of Egypt story. However, it does not compare to the animation or the bible story but it was a good attempt. I will definitely be spending this weekend re-watching the animation again.
Thank you for reading.